A straddle is a live bet; but does not become a "bigger blind". Then a final river card. This is because the advantage that would otherwise be gained by missing the blind, that of playing several hands before having to pay blinds, is not the case in this situation. For instance, say that with three players in a hand, Player A has a weak hand but decides to try a bluff with a large opening bet. This is also known as "ratholing" or "reducing" and, while totally permissible in most other casino games, is not permitted in poker. However, terms such as "overseeing" and "cold seeing" are not valid. Everything you need to know about poker from big online series and promotions to Live.
Texas Hold'em Rules
The amount a player can raise to depends on the game that is being played. Most commonly in a game of no-limit Texas hold'em, the minimum opening raise must be at least twice the big blind, and the maximum raise can be all of the chips a player has in his or her stack an "all-in" bet. There are other betting variations in hold'em poker. In fixed-limit hold'em or just "limit hold'em , a raise is always exactly twice the big blind.
In pot-limit hold'em played much less often than the other variations , players can bet anywhere from the amount of the big blind the minimum bet allowed up to the total amount in the current pot. After the first player "under the gun" acts, play proceeds in a clockwise fashion around the table with each player also having the same three options — to call, to raise, or fold.
Once the last bet is called and the action is "closed," the preflop round is over and play moves on to the "flop. After the first preflop betting round has been completed, the first three community cards are dealt and a second betting round follows involving only the players who have not folded already. In this betting round and subsequent ones , action starts with the first active player to the left of the button.
Along with the options to bet, call, fold, or raise, a player now has the option to "check" if no betting action has occurred beforehand. A check simply means to pass the action to the next player in the hand.
Again betting continues until the last bet or raise has been called which closes the action. It also can happen that every player simply chooses not to be and checks around the table, which also ends the betting round. The fourth community card, called the turn, is dealt face up following all betting action on the flop. Once this has been completed, another round of betting occurs, similar to that on the previous street of play. Again players have the option to options to check, bet, call, fold, or raise.
The fifth community card, called the river, is dealt face up following all betting action on the turn. Once this has been completed, another round of betting occurs, similar to what took play on the previous street of play.
Once more the remaining players have the option to options to check, bet, call, fold, or raise. After all betting action has been completed, the remaining players in the hand with hole cards now expose their holdings to determine a winner. This is called the showdown. The remaining players open their hole cards, and with the assistance of the dealer a winning hand is determined.
The player with the best combination of five cards wins the pot according to traditional poker hand rankings. These hand rankings aren't specifically part of Texas hold'em rules, but apply to many different poker games. Remember, players construct their hands by choosing the five best cards from the seven available their two hole cards and the five community cards.
For example, if the board is showing , a player with the two hole cards would have two pair aces and nines , and would lose to a player who has for three of a kind three nines. Learning hold'em poker begins with understanding how hands are dealt and the order of play as described above. Of course, learning Texas hold'em rules is just the beginning, as the next step is to learn strategy which involves understanding what constitutes good starting hand selection, the odds and probabilities associated with the game, the significance of position and getting to act last during those postflop betting rounds, and many other aspects of the game.
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Preflop Second Betting Round: The Flop Third Betting Round: The Turn Final Betting Round: Texas Hold'em Rules So how do you play Texas hold'em? The Button Play moves clockwise around the table, starting with action to the left of the dealer button. The Blinds As mentioned, before every new hand, two players at the table are obligated to post small and big blinds.
Preflop The first round of betting takes place right after each player has been dealt two hole cards. This player has three options: The Flop After the first preflop betting round has been completed, the first three community cards are dealt and a second betting round follows involving only the players who have not folded already.
The Turn The fourth community card, called the turn, is dealt face up following all betting action on the flop. The River The fifth community card, called the river, is dealt face up following all betting action on the turn.
The Showdown The remaining players open their hole cards, and with the assistance of the dealer a winning hand is determined. Royal Flush — five cards of the same suit, ranked ace through ten; e.
GlobalPoker Review Editor's rating: However, some situations, such as when a player was absent from the table during a hand in which they should have paid a blind, call for placing a "dead blind"; the blind does not count as a bet.
If there have been no raises when action first gets to the big blind that is, the bet amount facing them is just the amount of the big blind they posted , the big blind has the ability to raise or check. This right to raise called the option occurs only once. As with any raise, if their raise is now called by every player, the first betting round closes as usual. Similarly to a missed ante, a missed blind due to the player's temporary absence i.
Upon the player's return, they must pay the applicable blind to the pot for the next hand they will participate in.
The need for this rule is eliminated in casinos that deal in absent players as described above. Also the rule is for temporary absences only; if a player leaves the table permanently, special rules govern the assigning of blinds and button see next subsection. In some fixed-limit and spread-limit games, especially if three blinds are used, the big blind amount may be less than the normal betting minimum.
Players acting after a sub-minimum blind have the right to call the blind as it is, even though it is less than the amount they would be required to bet, or they may raise the amount needed to bring the current bet up to the normal minimum, called completing the bet. When one or more players pays the small or big blinds for a hand, then after that hand permanently leaves the game by "busting out" in a tournament or simply calling it a night at a public cardroom , an adjustment is required in the positioning of the blinds and the button.
There are three common rule sets to determine this:. In tournaments, the dead button and moving button rules are common replacement players are generally not a part of tournaments. Online cash games generally use the simplified moving button as other methods are more difficult to codify and can be abused by players constantly entering and leaving.
Casino card rooms where players can come and go can use any of the three rulesets, though moving button is most common. When a player immediately takes the place of a player who leaves, the player may have the option to either pay the blinds in the leaving player's stead, in which case play continues as if the player never left, or to "sit out" until the button has moved past him, and thus the chair is effectively empty for purposes of the blinds.
Many card rooms do not allow new players to sit out as it is highly advantageous for the new player, both to watch one or more hands without obligation to play, and to enter the game in a very "late" position on their first hand they see all other player's actions except the dealer's.
For these reasons, new players must often post a "live" big blind to enter regardless of their position at the table. The normal rules for positioning the blinds do not apply when there are only two players at the table.
The player on the button is always due the small blind, and the other player must pay the big blind. The player on the button is therefore the first to act before the flop, but last to act for all remaining betting rounds. A special rule is also applied for placement of the button whenever the size of the table shrinks to two players.
If three or more players are involved in a hand, and at the conclusion of the hand one or more players have busted out such that only two players remain for the next hand, the position of the button may need to be adjusted to begin heads-up play. The big blind always continues moving, and then the button is positioned accordingly. For example, in a three-handed game, Alice is the button, Dianne is the small blind, and Carol is the big blind.
If Alice busts out, the next hand Dianne will be the big blind, and the button will skip past Dianne and move to Carol. On the other hand, if Carol busts out, Alice will be the big blind, Dianne will get the button and will have to pay the small blind for the second hand in a row. A kill blind is a special blind bet made by a player who triggers the kill in a kill game see below. It is often twice the amount of the big blind or minimum bet known as a full kill , but can be 1.
This blind is "live"; the player posting it normally acts last in the opening round after the other blinds, regardless of relative position at the table , and other players must call the amount of the kill blind to play. As any player can trigger a kill, there is the possibility that the player must post a kill blind when they are already due to pay one of the other blinds. Rules vary on how this is handled. A bring-in is a type of forced bet that occurs after the cards are initially dealt, but before any other action.
One player, usually chosen by the value of cards dealt face up on the initial deal, is forced to open the betting by some small amount, after which players act after them in normal rotation.
Because of this random first action, bring-ins are usually used in games with an ante instead of structured blind bets.
The bring-in is normally assigned on the first betting round of a stud poker game to the player whose upcards indicate the poorest hand. For example, in traditional high hand stud games and high-low split games, the player showing the lowest card pays the bring-in.
In low hand games, the player with the highest card showing pays the bring-in. The high card by suit order can be used to break ties, but more often the person closest to the dealer in order of rotation pays the bring-in. In most fixed-limit and some spread-limit games, the bring-in amount is less than the normal betting minimum often half of this minimum. The player forced to pay the bring-in may choose either to pay only what is required in which case it functions similarly to a small blind or to make a normal bet.
Players acting after a sub-minimum bring-in have the right to call the bring-in as it is, even though it is less than the amount they would be required to bet, or they may raise the amount needed to bring the current bet up to the normal minimum, called completing the bet. In a game where the bring-in is equal to the fixed bet this is rare and not recommended , the game must either allow the bring-in player to optionally come in for a raise, or else the bring-in must be treated as live in the same way as a blind, so that the player is guaranteed their right to raise on the first betting round the "option" if all other players call.
Some cash games, especially with blinds, require a new player to post when joining a game already in progress. Posting in this context means putting an amount equal to the big blind or the minimum bet into the pot before the deal. This amount is also called a "dead blind". The post is a "live" bet, meaning that the amount can be applied towards a call or raise when it is the player's turn to act. If the player is not facing a raise when the action gets to them, they may also "check their option" as if they were in the big blind.
A player who is away from their seat and misses one or more blinds is also required to post to reenter the game. In this case, the amount to be posted is the amount of the big or small blind, or both, at the time the player missed them. If both must be posted immediately upon return, the big blind amount is "live", but the small blind amount is "dead", meaning that it cannot be considered in determining a call or raise amount by that player.
Some house rules allow posting one blind per hand, largest first, meaning all posts of missed blinds are live. Posting is usually not required if the player who would otherwise post happens to be in the big blind.
This is because the advantage that would otherwise be gained by missing the blind, that of playing several hands before having to pay blinds, is not the case in this situation. It is therefore common for a new player to lock up a seat and then wait several hands before joining a table, or for a returning player to sit out several hands until the big blind comes back around, so that they may enter in the big blind and avoid paying the post.
For this same reason, only one set of missed blinds can be accumulated by the player; old missed blinds are removed when the big blind returns to that player's seat because the player was never in any position to gain from missing the blinds. In online poker it is common for the post to be equal in size to a big blind and to be live, just like the big blind.
This can create a tactical advantage for the player if they choose not to play during the time they would otherwise spend in the blind in full ring games. A straddle bet is an optional and voluntary blind bet made by a player after the posting of the small and big blinds, but before cards are dealt. Straddles are typically used only in cash games played with fixed blind structures. Some jurisdictions and casinos prohibit live straddles.
Straddles are normally not permitted in tournament formats and are rarely allowed online. The purpose of a straddle is to "buy" the privilege of last action, which on the first round with blinds is normally the player in the big blind. A straddle or sleeper blind may count as a raise towards the maximum number of raises allowed, or it may count separately; in the latter case this raises the maximum total bet of the first round.
For example, straddling is permitted in Nevada and Atlantic City but illegal in other areas on account of differences in state and local laws. The player immediately to the left of the big blind "under the gun", UTG may place a live straddle blind bet. The straddle must be the size of a normal raise over the big blind. A straddle is a live bet; but does not become a "bigger blind".
The straddle acts as a minimum raise but with the difference being that the straddler still gets their option of acting when the action returns to them. In a No-Limit game if any other player wants to make a raise with a straddle on board, the minimum raise will be the difference between the big blind and the straddle.
Small Blind is 5, Big Blind is 10, a Straddle would be The minimum raise would be 10, for a total of 30, it doesn't need to double to Action begins with the player to the left of the straddle.
If action returns to the straddle without a raise, the straddle has the option to raise. This is part of what makes a straddle different from a sleeper because a sleeper does not have the option to raise if everyone folds or calls around to him. Some casinos permit the player to the left of a live straddle to re-straddle by placing a blind bet raising the original straddle. Depending on house rules, each re-straddle is often required to be double the previous straddle, so as to limit the number of feasible re-straddles.
Straddling is considered poor long-term strategy by most experts, since the benefit of obtaining last action is more than offset by the cost of making a blind raise.
Because straddling has a tendency to enrich the average pot size without a corresponding increase in the blinds and antes if applicable , players who sit at tables that allow straddling can increase their profits considerably simply by choosing not to straddle themselves.
Straddling is voluntary at most cardrooms that allow it, however house rules can make straddling obligatory at times by using a special token called "the rock" at the table. Whoever is in possession of the "rock" is obliged to place a live straddle for double the big blind when they are in the UTG position. The winner of the ensuing pot takes possession of the "rock" and is obliged to make a live straddle when the UTG position comes around to him. If the pot is split the "rock" goes to the winner closest to the left i.
This is very similar in principle to the "kill blind" of a kill game, but does not necessarily occur in the same circumstances, and the betting amounts do not have to be affected beyond the first round as in a kill game.
A Mississippi straddle is similar to a live straddle, but instead of being made by the player "under the gun", it can be made by any player, depending on house rules one common variation is to allow this left of big blind or on the button. House rules permitting Mississippi straddles are common in the southern United States. Like a live straddle, a Mississippi straddle must be at least the minimum raise.
Action begins with the player to the left of the straddle in a common variation, action starts left of the big blind, skips over the straddle who is last. If action gets back to the straddle with no raise, the straddle has the option of raising. The player to the left of a Mississippi straddle may re-straddle by placing a blind bet raising the original straddle.
A sleeper is a blind raise, made from a position other than the player "under the gun". A sleeper bet is not given the option to raise if other players call, and the player is not buying last action; thus the sleeper bet simply establishes a higher minimum to call for the table during the opening round and allows the player to ignore their turn as long as no one re-raises the sleeper bet.
Sleepers are often considered illegal out-of-turn play and are commonly disallowed, but they can speed up a game slightly as a player who posts a sleeper can focus their attention on other matters such as ordering a drink or buying a tray of chips. It can also be an intimidation tactic as a sleeper raise makes it unfeasible to "limp in" a situation where a player with a mediocre starting hand but acting late only has to call the minimum to see more cards , thus forcing weaker but improvable starting hands out of the play.
Alice is in the small blind, Dianne is in the big blind, Carol is next to act, followed by Joane, with Ellen on the button. Betting limits apply to the amount a player may open or raise, and come in four common forms: All such games have a minimum bet as well as the stated maximums, and also commonly a betting unit , which is the smallest denomination in which bets can be made.
It is also common for some games to have a bring-in that is less than the minimum for other bets. In this case, players may either call the bring-in, or raise to the full amount of a normal bet, called completing the bet. In a game played with a fixed-limit betting structure, a player chooses only whether to bet or not—the amount is fixed by rule in most situations.
To enable the possibility of bluffing and protection , the fixed amount generally doubles at some point in the game. This double wager amount is referred to as a big bet. Some limit games have rules for specific situations allowing a player to choose between a small or big bet. For example, in seven-card stud high , when a player has a face-up pair on the second round 4th street , players may choose a small or big bet e.
Most fixed-limit games will not allow more than a predefined number of raises in a betting round. The maximum number of raises depends on the casino house rules , and is usually posted conspicuously in the card room. Typically, an initial bet plus either three or four raises are allowed.
Once Player A has made their final bet, Players B and C may only call another two and one bets respectively ; they may not raise again because the betting is capped. A common exception in this rule practiced in some card rooms is to allow unlimited raising when a pot is played heads up when only two players are in the hand at the start of the betting round.
Usually, this has occurred because all other players have folded, and only two remain, although it is also practiced when only two players get dealt in. Many card rooms will permit these two players to continue re-raising each other until one player is all in. Sometimes a fixed-limit game is played as a kill game.
In such a game, a kill hand is triggered when a player wins a pot over a certain predetermined amount, or when the player wins a certain number of consecutive hands. The player triggering the kill must post a kill blind , generally either 1. In addition, the betting limits for the kill hand are multiplied by 1. The term kill , when used in this context, should not be confused with killing a hand , which is a term used for a hand that was made a dead hand by action of a game official.
A game played with a spread-limit betting structure allows a player to raise any amount within a specified range. These limits are typically larger in later rounds of multi-round games. Playing spread-limit requires some care to avoid giving easy tells with one's choice of bets.
Beginners frequently give themselves away by betting high with strong hands and low with weak ones, for instance. It is also harder to force other players out with big bets. There is a variation of this known as "California Spread," where the range is much higher, such as or California Spread, as the name implies, is played in California, Colorado, and Minnesota, where local laws forbid no limit.
In a half-pod limit game no player can raise more than the half of the size of the total pot. Half-pod limit games are often played at non-high-low games including Badugi in South Korea. In a pot-limit game no player can raise more than the size of the total pot, which includes:. This does not preclude a player from raising less than the maximum so long as the amount of the raise is equal to or greater than any previous bet or raise in the same betting round.
Making a maximum raise is referred to as "raising the pot", or "potting", and can be announced by the acting player by declaring "Raise pot", or simply "Pot".
These actions, with additional follow-up wagering, are laid out in Table '1' on the right. Only pot limit games allow the dealer, on request, to inform the players of the pot size and the amount of a pot raise before it's made. The dealer is also required to push any amount over the maximum raise back to the offending player. Keeping track of those numbers can be harrowing if the action becomes heated, but there are simple calculations that allow a dealer or player to keep track of the maximum raise amount.
Here is an example:. There may be some variance between cash and tournament play in pot limit betting structures, which should be noted:. There can be some confusion about the small blind.
Some usually home games treat the small blind as dead money that is pulled into the center pot. A game played with a no-limit betting structure allows each player to raise the bet by any amount up to and including their entire remaining stake at any time subject to the table stakes rules and any other rules about raising.
Hands in a cap limit or "capped" structure are played exactly the same as in regular no limit or pot limit games until a pre-determined maximum per player is reached. Once the betting cap is reached, all players left in the hand are considered all-in , and the remaining cards dealt out with no more wagering.
Cap limit games offer a similar action and strategy to no limit and pot limit games, but without risking an entire stack on a single hand. All casinos and most home games play poker by what are called table stakes rules, which state that each player starts each deal with a certain stake, and plays that deal with that stake.
A player may not remove money from the table or add money from their pocket during the play of a hand. In essence, table stakes rules creates a maximum and a minimum buy-in amount for cash game poker as well as rules for adding and removing the stake from play. A player also may not take a portion of their money or stake off the table, unless they opt to leave the game and remove their entire stake from play.
Players are not allowed to hide or misrepresent the amount of their stake from other players and must truthfully disclose the amount when asked. In casino games, an exception is customarily made for de minimis amounts such as tips paid out of a player's stack. Common among inexperienced players is the act of "going south" after winning a big pot, which is to take a portion of one's stake out of play, often as an attempt to hedge one's risk after a win.
This is also known as "ratholing" or "reducing" and, while totally permissible in most other casino games, is not permitted in poker. If a player wishes to "hedge" after a win, the player must leave the table entirely—to do so immediately after winning a large pot is known as a "hit and run" and, although not prohibited, is generally considered in poor taste as the other players have no chance to "win some of it back".
In most casinos, once a player picks up their stack and leaves a table, they must wait a certain amount of time usually an hour before returning to a table with the same game and limits unless they buy in for the entire amount they left with. This is to prevent circumvention of the rule against "ratholing" by leaving the table after a large win only to immediately buy back in for a lesser amount.
Table stakes are the rule in most cash poker games because it allows players with vastly different bankrolls a reasonable amount of protection when playing with one another. They are usually set in relation to the blinds.
This also requires some special rules to handle the case when a player is faced with a bet that they cannot call with their available stake. A player faced with a current bet who wishes to call but has insufficient remaining stake folding does not require special rules may bet the remainder of their stake and declare themselves all in. They may now hold onto their cards for the remainder of the deal as if they had called every bet, but may not win any more money from any player above the amount of their bet.
In no-limit games, a player may also go all in, that is, betting their entire stack at any point during a betting round. A player who goes "all-in" effectively caps the main pot; the player is not entitled to win any amount over their total stake. If only one other player is still in the hand, the other player simply matches the all-in retracting any overage if necessary and the hand is dealt to completion. However, if multiple players remain in the game and the bet rises beyond the all-in's stake, the overage goes into a side pot.
Only the players who have contributed to the side pot have the chance to win it. In the case of multiple all-in bets, multiple side pots can be created. Players who choose to fold rather than match bets in the side pot are considered to fold with respect to the main pot as well.
Player C decides to "re-raise all-in" by betting their remaining stake. Player A is the only player at the table with a remaining stake; they may not make any further bets this hand. As no further bets can be made, the hand is now dealt to completion.
It is found that Player B has the best hand overall, and wins the main pot. Player A has the second-best hand, and wins the side pot. Player C loses the hand, and must "re-buy" if they wish to be dealt in on subsequent hands. There is a strategic advantage to being all in: Opponents who continue to bet after a player is all in can still bluff each other out of the side pot, which is also to the all in player's advantage since players who fold out of the side pot also reduce competition for the main pot.
But these advantages are offset by the disadvantage that a player cannot win any more money than their stake can cover when they have the best hand, nor can an all in player bluff other players on subsequent betting rounds when they do not have the best hand.
Some players may choose to buy into games with a "short stack", a stack of chips that is relatively small for the stakes being played, with the intention of going all in after the flop and not having to make any further decisions.
However, this is generally a non-optimal strategy in the long-term, since the player does not maximize their gains on their winning hands. If a player does not have sufficient money to cover the ante and blinds due, that player is automatically all-in for the coming hand. Any money the player holds must be applied to the ante first, and if the full ante is covered, the remaining money is applied towards the blind.
Some cardrooms require players in the big blind position to have at least enough chips to cover the small blind and ante if applicable in order to be dealt in. In cash games with such a rule, any player in the big blind with insufficient chips to cover the small blind will not be dealt in unless they re-buy. In tournaments with such a rule, any player in the big blind with insufficient chips to cover the small blind will be eliminated with their remaining chips being removed from play.
If a player is all in for part of the ante, or the exact amount of the ante, an equal amount of every other player's ante is placed in the main pot, with any remaining fraction of the ante and all blinds and further bets in the side pot.
If a player is all in for part of a blind, all antes go into the main pot. Players to act must call the complete amount of the big blind to call, even if the all-in player has posted less than a full big blind. At the end of the betting round, the bets and calls will be divided into the main pot and side pot as usual. All remaining players fold, the small blind folds, and Dianne folds.
If a player goes all in with a bet or raise rather than a call, another special rule comes into play. There are two options in common use: